Mobile

Asus Transformer Prime is the first Android Ice Cream Sandwich tablet

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime might end up being the first tablet to feature Android 4.0, a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich.

Although Lenovo was reportedly rolling out an Ice Cream Sandwich-powered tablet by the end of 2011, Asus is saying its newest offering will be the first to feature Ice Cream Sandwich. While the tablet will ship with Android 3.2 (a.k.a. Honeycomb), the manufacturers say it will be upgradable to Android 4.0 immediately.

The Transformer Prime (if you don’t read that and immediately envision the character depicted in the above image, I weep for your sad, sad childhood) is a quad-core, 10.1-inch beast. It’s a third of an inch thick and weighs around 1.3 pounds.

The tablet is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3, the first-ever quad-core processor for mobile devices; and Nvidia promises that as a result, the tablet will deliver lightning-fast apps, gorgeous video, responsive gaming and an extra-long battery life — up to 18 hours, in fact.

For you picture- and video-happy types, the tablet comes with an 8MP rear-facing camera and a 1.2MP front-facing camera. And if you’re more interested in text and productivity, the Transformer Prime comes with a mobile dock featuring a full-size QWERTY keyboard and touchpad.

Here’s a video showing Ice Cream Sandwich running on the tablet.

You can pre-order the Transformer Prime today from Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers. Tablets come in champagne and gray colors and 32GB and 64GB storage capacities. The former capacity is selling for $499, and the latter for $599. We don’t yet know when the units will start to ship.

As you may recall, Ice Cream Sandwich is the first Android operating system intended to work on both tablets and smartphones, as well as a range of other connected devices. Apps built for Ice Cream Sandwich should be able to scale from device to device and from form factor to widely varying form factor with little or no effort on the developer’s part.

The first batch of Ice Cream Sandwich tablets will test this promise thoroughly within the next few months.

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